STATEMENT OF ISSUE: The Paulding County Board of Commissioners proposes to construct a dam on Richland Creek to impound approximately 305 acres of water to serve as a pump storage water supply reservoir for Paulding County residents. The reservoir would be supplemented by pumping up to 40.4 million gallons per day (MGD) from the Etowah River. The safe yield of the reservoir will be a maximum of 35 MGD for the County to meet the total projected 2060 water demand of 53.2 MGD.
BACKGROUND: A Joint Public Notice (JPN) was issued on October 10, 2007. On March 12, 2008, Savannah District requested additional information regarding the project’s intake and pipeline that had been omitted from the application. On August 29, 2011, Savannah District received a new application package and on November 23, 2011, published a JPN indicating the project would impact 1.34 acres of wetlands and 50,201.3 linear feet of streams within the proposed reservoir site and the proposed pipeline corridor. In response to the notice several objections were received, including comments from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; the Southern Environmental Law Center; and the State of Alabama.
CURRENT STATUS: The applicant reassessed their 2060 population projections using updated 2012 Georgia Office of Planning and Budget (OPB) population data. By letter dated January 6, 2014, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division concurred with the revised 2060 population projections. The applicant has submitted hydrologic modeling data to show the potential cumulative impacts of the proposed reservoirs in the ACT Basin. Hydrology modeling is required to address potential downstream effects on Federal projects operated by Mobile District. A meeting was held on January 28, 2015, between the applicant and the District Commander to discuss the applicant’s concerns that Savannah District’s plan to engage Mobile District could lead to unnecessary delay. Mobile District began the analysis of the modeling data on January 26, 2015, and is expected to complete its review by the end of March 2015.
The applicant participated in a joint agency meeting on March 11, 2015, during which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gave a presentation on the Northern Long-eared Bat. This species may be listed as threatened or endangered in April 2015, and listing may affect certain activities related to reservoir site preparation. The applicant was able to participate in a question and answer session on the subject. Savannah District approved the applicant’s proposed schedule for drawdown of the stream and wetland mitigation credits required from commercial mitigation bank(s) servicing the project area. The State of Georgia has not yet issued Water Quality Certification nor any water withdrawal permits.
DISTRICT POC: Kevin Thames, Piedmont Branch, Regulatory Division, (678) 422-1981